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Citi: A $200bn problem for solving climate change

— Citi employees are confidentially speaking to FossilFreeCiti on Citi’s funding of fossil fuels. Join your colleagues now by emailing [email protected]. — 


New data shows that Citi is the biggest global funder of companies
expanding oil, gas, and coal of any bank in the world. Citi has poured over $200 billion into fossil fuel companies since the Paris Agreement to limit planetary warming was signed in 2015 according to the latest annual report Banking on Climate Chaos by Rainforest Action Network and a coalition of NGOs. 

Did Citi miss the memo that the world doesn’t need new fossil fuel projects? Or that major fossil fuel companies are actively avoiding being part of the transition?

 

Pollution and rights

“We came from so far to tell Citi not to finance Petroperú” – Olivia Bisa, president of the autonomous territorial government of the Chapra Nation in Peru

Citi is behind some of the most egregious recent developments of fossil fuels. Here is just a taster of some:

  • In Indonesia, Citi funds Adaro which is building an aluminium smelter plant in a conservation and migration area for endangered species such as the green turtles, hawksbill turtles and killer whales. 
  • Citi is also turning a blind eye to violations of Indigenous rights – from the US, to the Amazon and Australia. In Peru it backs Petroperú which is involved in hundreds of oil spills and  threats to Indigenous leaders which oppose them. Olivia Bisa, president of the autonomous territorial government of the Chapra Nation in Peru, travelled to New York recently and met Citi to tell the bank its funding was threatening her life and her family’s: “We came from so far to tell Citi not to finance Petroperú, because they are impacting us, not only polluting our territories, but also they are causing fights and that we can have conflicts among us, among Indigenous nations, because Petroperú is using divisive tactics in the communities. Since 2022, where I denounced an oil spill in my territory, I have been criminalized. I’ve been threatened. I have received six lawsuits against me from Petroperú.”

 

Investor ire

Concern over Indigenous rights has seen one in four Citi shareholders support a shareholder resolution by investor nuns for three years. The message from investors is clear: “human rights violations are bad for business”.

 

Foul funder

A look at which companies Citi has been funding paints a stark picture of what this bank really cares about. Citi pumped $15 billion into ExxonMobil, one of the world’s biggest oil producers, which knew about climate change for decades but actively lobbied to stop action on it. Citi also funds Saudi Aramco – receiving over $6 billion since 2016. Because of this funding, Citi was named in a UN complaint last year over human rights abuses linked to climate change.

 

Transition plans

Citi knows it’s got a problem with its clients and its fossil fuel funding. Its own report released recently shows that 71% of its clients do have adequate transition plans. Yet there has been no policy announcement to drop clients which won’t transition away from oil, gas, and coal and no commitment that it will no longer back fossil fuel expansion. 

We have so much evidence that Citi is a dirty bank, the question is does it care enough about its investors, customers, staff and the planet to change direction?

Citi employees are confidentially speaking to FossilFreeCiti on Citi’s funding of fossil fuels.

Join your colleagues now by emailing [email protected].

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Stand.earth on the 15th annual Banking on Climate Chaos Report

GLOBAL – As communities experience year-round fires, floods, smoke, and deadly heat, the 15th annual Banking on Climate Chaos report revealed today that banks around the world are continuing to finance fossil fuels at dangerous levels, surpassing $6.9 trillion since 2016.

Nearly half – $3.3 trillion – went towards fossil fuel expansion, at a time when science and justice demand a swift and rapid fossil fuel phase-out. The worst funder of fossil fuel expansion since the Paris Agreement is Citigroup, providing $204 billion since 2016. In 2023, Citi ranked 7th for expansion financing, with more than $14.6 billion worth of fossil fuel expansion deals.

The big five Canadian banks did an outsized proportion of the total fossil fuel financing for the period of 2016-2023 at US $911.15 billion or 13% of all deals, including 45% of all tar sands deals last yearThree banks made the 2023 Dirty Dozen – RBC (#7)Scotiabank (#10), and TD Bank (#11) – and all five are in the top 16 spots globally.

With an updated methodology in place, RBC remains Canada’s #1 fossil bank, #7 globally, #4 for financing fossil fuel expansion in 2023Scotiabank is #6 globally for financing expansion of fossil fuels in 2023. This report comes following an Indigenous- and frontline-led takeover of RBC’s annual shareholder meeting.

In AmazoniaCitibank, Bank of America and JPMorgan Chase are top financiers of oil and gas at $4.97 billion between 2016-2023. Since 2016, the top 60 banks have financed $11.15 billion in Amazonia extraction. Amidst an imminent tipping point as Amazonia faces the worst drought in history, three American banks are quickly followed by European Santander.

With research contributed by Stand.earth Research Group, the report reveals that Citibank has financed over $1.98 billion since 2016. Despite Citibank’s commitment to Indigenous Peoples in its  Statement on Human Rights, just last year the bank took part in a $500 million bond deal for Hunt Oil Peru – one of the companies behind the notorious Camisea Gas Project. In 2013, the UN called for an immediate suspension of Camisea as it threatens the survival of several uncontacted and isolated tribes in the territory.

On the 15th annual Banking on Climate Chaos report, Stand.earth leaders offered the following statements:

On Canadian banks as fossil fuel lenders of last resort, Richard Brooks, Stand.earth Climate Finance Director, said:

“We have the solutions, yet Canada’s big banks are still lighting the fuses of carbon bombs, pouring billions into fossil fuel financing during the hottest year on record. In Canada, the Big Five are all top 16 global fossil fuel financing banks. Canadian banks are positioned as lenders of last resort, holding dangerously outsized fossil fuel financing, which should sicken and worry us all. Canada’s largest bank RBC – under CEO Dave McKay – is proving unwilling to lead. It’s time for our government and regulators to step in and mandate Canadian banks help rather than hinder our climate goals.”

On banks’ financing extraction from Amazonia, Martyna Dominiak, Stand.earth Senior Climate Finance Campaigner, said:

“The Amazon is heading for collapse while banks like Citi are counting profits, propping up some of the most corrupt companies behind the brutal oil expansion in the largest rainforest driving all of us to a tipping point. But it doesn’t need to be like that. HSBC and some other banks already started their exit from Amazon oil and gas. It’s time for Citi, Bank of America and Santander to follow suit for the sake of Indigenous Peoples, Earth, and humanity.”

On Citibank as the world’s second largest fossil fuel financing bank since 2016, Hannah Saggau, Stand.earth, Senior Climate Finance Campaigner, said:

“While our communities experience devastating climate chaos like fires, floods, hurricanes, and deadly heat, Citi is perpetuating environmental racism with its $396.33 billion in fossil fuel financing since 2016. The same banks profiting off climate chaos are also profiting off weapons and war. Citi claims to be a climate leader, but should rather be named a climate criminal as the second largest fossil fuel financier in the world.”

Highlights:

(↑ indicates financing increased for this sector from 2022 to 2023, ↓ a decrease)

↓ Amazon oil and gas: In this report, Bank Of America leads financing for 24 companies extracting in the Amazon biome at $162 million — $33 million more than the next bank in the ranking, JP Morgan Chase. Financing totaled $632 million in 2023, dropping from $802 million in the year prior.

 Tar sands oil: The top 36 tar sands companies received $4.4 billion in financing in 2023, a $4 billion drop from the previous year. Canadian banks provided 45% of those funds. Top funders are CIBC, RBC, Scotiabank, Toronto-Dominion Bank, and Mizuho. 

↑ Methane Gas (LNG): The top bankers of 130 companies expanding liquefied methane gas (LNG) in 2023 were MizuhoMUFG, Santander, RBC, and JPMorgan Chase. Overall finance for liquefied methane increased to $120 billion in 2023.

↑ Coal mining: Of the $42.5 billion in financing that went to 211 coal mining companies in 2023, 81% was provided by banks located in China, led by China CITIC Bank, China Merchant Bank, Shanghai Pudong Development Bank, Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC), and China Everbright Group. Financing for this sector is up slightly compared to 2022.

↑ Metallurgical coal: The 48 companies active in metallurgical coal mining received commitments of $2.54 billion in financing in 2023. Top banks include CITICChina Everbright GroupBank of America, and Ping An Insurance Group. Financing for this sector is up slightly compared to 2022.

↓ Coal-fired power: Of the financing to the coal power companies listed on the Global Coal Exit List, 65% of financing was provided by banks located in China. In 2023, these companies received $80 billion from the banks in this report. Financing for this sector is down slightly compared to 2022.

↓ Gas-fired power: Banks committed $108 billion in financing to 252 companies expanding gas-fired power in 2023. The top 3 financiers in this sector are MizuhoICBC, and MUFG. Financing for this sector is down compared to 2022.

↓ Expansion: The 60 banks profiled in this report funneled $347 billion in 2023 into 874 companies expanding fossil fuels including Enbridge, Vitol, TC Energy, and Venture Global. In 2022, $385 billion went towards expansion. Financing for these expansion companies is down compared to 2022.

↓ Fracked oil and gas: Finance for 236 fracking companies totaled $59 billion dollars in 2023. U.S. Banks dominate this sector, with the top funders being JP Morgan Chase, Wells Fargo, Bank of America, Goldman Sachs, Citigroup, and Morgan Stanley. 

↓ Ultra Deepwater oil and gas: Japanese banks MizuhoMUFG, and SMBC Group top the list of worst financiers of 66 companies involved in ultra deepwater oil and gas for 2023. Financing totaled $3.7 billion in 2023, down from 2022.

↓ Arctic oil and gas: Financing for 45 companies involved in Arctic oil and gas dropped from $3.3 billion to $2.4 billion. The worst banks financiers of this sector in 2023 are UniCredit, Citigroup, Intesa Sanpaolo,  Barclays, and Credit Agricole.

Sector reporting in BOCC 24 is aligned with the Global Oil & Gas Exit List (GOGEL) and the Global Coal Exit List (GCEL), researched by Urgewald. All companies listed by the GOGEL or GCEL that show bank financing in each sector are reported. All companies identified on the GOGEL or GCEL as expansion companies are reported in the expansion league table. Amazon biome companies were identified by Stand.earth Research Group. Metallurgical coal companies were identified through a collaboration between BankTrack and Reclaim Finance.

 

Press Contacts:

Lindsay Meiman, Stand.earth Climate Finance Media Director, [email protected]

Lays Ushirobira, Stand.earth Amazonia Communications Manager, [email protected]

Shawna Ambrose, Rainforest Action Network (RAN), [email protected] (Global report inquiries)

 

SPOKESPEOPLE ARE AVAILABLE FOR INTERVIEW. 

All currencies are noted in USD unless otherwise indicated.

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Black and Indigenous Environmental Leaders Slam Citigroup for  Funding Fossil Fuels and Driving Environmental Racism

April 22, 2024

NEW YORK CITY – On Monday, April 22, 2024, environmental leaders from communities on the frontlines of climate change convened the first-of-its kind Earth Day hearing on Citigroup’s environmental racism. Actor and activist Jane Fonda kicked off the hearing and introduced the hearing chair, Roishetta Ozane, a Black leader and environmental activist from Sulphur, Louisiana, and founder of the Vessel Project. The hearing culminated in a set of demands on Citigroup aimed at fixing the harms the bank has caused to impacted communities, including immediately ending funding for fossil fuels, publicly acknowledging harm the bank has caused communities of color, respect Indigenous rights, and investing in a just transition to sustainable energy

Photos and videos of the hearing can be found here. Members of the media have full permission to all photos and videos. 

As the world’s second-largest funder of coal, oil, and gas, Citi has poured over $332 billion into climate-ravaging fossil fuels since the Paris Agreement was adopted in 2016 – making billionaires even richer while everyday people are choking on wildfire smoke, losing their homes to floods, and trying to survive sweltering heat waves. 

Speakers at the hearing included Sharon Lavigne, of RISE St. James, among Time Magazine’s 100 Most Influential People of 2024; Olivia Bisa, President of the Autonomous Territorial Government of the Chapra nationality, who has faced death threats for her opposition to fossil fuel projects in Peru; and Sister Susan Francois of the Sisters of St Joseph of Peace in New Jersey which for three years has filed a shareholder resolution at Citi on Indigenous rights and fossil fuel funding. 

The hearing took place at St. Mark’s Church in-the-Bowery and was organized by Climate Defenders, New York Communities for Change, STAND.earth, Stop the Money Pipeline, and Texas Campaign for the Environment. Panel topics included the health impacts of fossil fuel build-out on the Gulf South, defending indigenous peoples’ rights, and solutions to climate change. 

Black and Indigenous environmental activists are building a movement to stop big banks from destroying the planet and say that this hearing was just the beginning of a wave of actions.

Olivia Bisa, President of the Autonomous Territorial Government of the Chapra Nation in Perú said, “Citi talks about respecting the Free, Prior and Informed Consent of Indigenous communities as set down by the UN, but it has clients like Petroperú which refuse to recognize the right to say no of seven Indigenous nations in the Peruvian Amazon. Petroperu’s disregard for Indigenous rights should mean something to the banks that lend them money; but in reality their mutual business continues. If they are serious about Indigenous rights, Citi must hold its clients accountable to ensure that their due diligence adheres to international standards of Free, Prior and Informed Consent.” 

Roishetta Ozane, founder of the Vessel Project of Louisiana, said, “The petrochemical facilities Citigroup funds are not bringing economic development in our communities. They’re polluting the air and water and making us sick, including  my own children, three of whom suffer from asthma and one from eczema. Citigroup is hurting our communities, and it’s especially hurting Black community in the Gulf South. We want Citigroup to stop funding fossil fuels and to stop hurting our communities and our families.”

“I want Citigroup’s CEO Jane Fraser to look me in the eye and tell me who is supposed to take care of our community members who are sick from pollution — because we have a lot of illness from pollution in our community. And who is going to bury them.” said Manning Rollerson, founder of the Freeport Haven Project for Environmental Justice. “Who is going to pay for the ongoing harm to our community? First, Black residents of Freeport were ordered that we could only live in the East End, then we were denied services for years while paying taxes, and now our whole community has been displaced so that Port Freeport can build warehouses and parking lots to continue shipping petrochemicals.”

Sharon Lavigne, founder of RISE St. James, named one of Time Magazine’s Most Influential People of 2024, said, “Where I live in St. James Parish is part of the notorious Cancer Alley – an 85-mile stretch in the Gulf South with high pollution and high rates of asthma and cancer. We have a funeral at least every week, sometimes two or three times a week. The cause is pollution from the 12 petrochemical plants and oil refineries within a 10-mile radius of St. James Parish. Citigroup could be part of the solution, but right now they are part of the problem since Citigroup has invested hundreds of millions into Formosa Plastics, which wants to open another plant in our Parish. That would be a death sentence for us.”

Sister Susan Francois, of the Sisters of St Joseph of Peace, said, “I am supporting the hearing to show the true interest of the Sisters of St Joseph of Peace in present and future generations impacted by the oil, gas and coal projects. Pope Francis has set out clearly the Church’s role in addressing projects in communities which result in a decline in their quality of life, the clearing of their land and the robbing of joy and hope for the future. Because of this, today’s hearing is of critical importance. For three years in a row, we have filed shareholder proposals with Citi asking for a report on the effectiveness of their policies to respect Indigenous rights. More than 30% of investors support this request because they know human rights violations are bad for business.”

Russell Armstrong, Senior Director, Campaigns & Advocacy for the Hip Hop Caucus, said, “I am participating in this hearing because financial institutions must prioritize climate justice and racial justice in all of their business decisions today for the possibility of a healthier and safer tomorrow. Repairing our communities will require the financial industry to agree that financing the fossil fuel industry is more than an ineligible use of funds, but is also harmful. Hip Hop Caucus is committed to strengthening the power of frontline communities of color.”

Armstrong continued, “In Citi’s Corporate Social Responsibility statements they say they “feel responsible for the community in which it operates” and we couldn’t agree more. That is why we are calling on Citibank to come meet with the frontline communities in the Gulf South and bear witness to how the additional billions in financing for fossil fuels since the 2016 Paris Agreements is not helping “build more sustainable, diverse and equitable communities” that they proudly stay they are “playing a leading role to drive the banking industry into a more sustainable future.

“We charge Citi with environmental racism: the bank’s record of harming communities of color has gone on too long,” Hannah Saggau, Fossil Free Citi Campaign Organizer at Stand.earth said. “We demand that Citi stop financing fossil fuel companies and start investing in frontline communities’ health and a climate-safe future.” 

Gabriel Alexandre, student at Leaders High School in Brooklyn, said, “Every year, during winter break, it seems as if my sister says the same, disappointing words to me: “How come there’s no snow this year? I miss making snow angels and having snowball fights!” And every year, we have to explain the same thing to her: The earth is getting warmer. This is why we’re demanding that Citigroup halt all investments into new oil and gas projects and instead invest money into green energy alternatives.”

Naomi Yoder,  Geographic Information Systems (GIS) Data Manager at the Bullard Center for Environmental and Climate Justice at Texas Southern University, said, “The evidence is clear: fossil fuels extraction and petrochemical production in the United States is an environmental injustice. We have the opportunity to change course, and we the people ask the banks and the corporations and the insurers to join us in enacting anti-racist, anti-oppressive policies, now.”

Below is a full list of demands that came out of the hearing. 

To begin addressing the harm caused by the $332 billion in financing for fossil fuels that Citi has provided since the Paris Agreement in 2016, Citi must commit to dramatically increasing financing of climate solutions and a just transition for and led by communities on the frontlines of the climate crisis. This commitment must be overseen by an advisory committee made up of majority Black, Indigenous, low-income, and Global South climate leaders.

Citi executive leadership will publicly acknowledge and apologize for the harm they have inflicted by financing the fossil fuel industry, including the human and ecological mass deaths as a result of the climate crisis. The Executive leadership will meet with community leaders on the frontlines of the climate crisis. They will travel to regions that have been harmed to understand firsthand how the projects and companies that Citi finances have affected everyday people.

  1. Immediately stop financing new and expanding coal, oil, and gas projects and any companies expanding fossil fuels.
  2. Rapidly phase out all fossil fuel financing and demonstrate year-on-year reductions in fossil financing in line with minimizing climate harms and limiting global warming to well below 1.5°C.
  3. Ensure that clients fully respect all rights of Indigenous Peoples, including the Indigenous Peoples’ Right to Free, Prior, and Informed Consent (FPIC) as articulated in the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.
  4. End financing for any projects or companies that demonstrate a pattern of violating human rights and self-determination, especially for Indigenous, Black, low-income and communities of color.
  5. Adopt or strengthen sectoral and regional exclusion policies, including for coal, LNG, Arctic, Gulf South and offshore/ultra-deep drilling.
  6. Scale up investments in renewables and proven climate energy solutions in line with a just transition and the needs outlined by the International Energy Agency, beyond the inadequate goals currently set by the bank.

Press Contacts:

Jonathan Westin, Climate Defenders, 917 637 9501

Emily Pomilio, Stand.earth, [email protected]

Alicé Nascimento, New York Communities for Change, [email protected]

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Demand Citi Stop Fueling the Climate Crisis

Sponsored by: The Fossil Free Citi Coalition

Add Your Name: Citi must stop fueling the climate crisis

Citi’s support for new fossil fuel projects jeopardizes our communities’ health, human rights, and future generations. As we experience the very real effects of the climate crisis, the cost of inaction is too high.

Together, let’s demand Citi stop funding fossil fuels for the sake of our communities — and our planet.

A major catalyst for the climate crisis is the funding of the fossil fuel industry by big banks. Banks invest billions of dollars into coal, oil, and gas corporations that create dirty energy, instead of massively expanding the renewables we need for safe, healthy communities.

Enter Citibank: a major climate offender. Citi is the second largest fossil fuel funder in the world, pouring $332 billion into the industry since the Paris Climate Agreement was signed in 2016. Citi has provided funding to companies like Exxon, Shell, Chevron, and Enbridge, who are building polluting new tar sands pipelines, oil rigs, and methane gas terminals, despite powerful resistance from frontline communities defending their right to a clean, healthy environment. 

Citi must stop financing new fossil fuel projects and the companies behind dangerous coal, oil, and gas expansion. Citi must also refuse to finance any companies that are violating human rights, especially the rights of impacted Indigenous communities.

Sign our petition to fight for your community’s health and safety by demanding that Citi stop funding fossil fuels.

Add your name using the form on this page or on Action Network.

Add Your Name: Citi must stop fueling the climate crisis

Take Action Now!

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Pressure on Citi to drop fossil fuel clients as report shows transition plans lacking

March 27, 2024

NEW YORK CITY – Citi is under pressure to drop clients focused on oil, gas, and coal as a new report by the bank shows 71% of these companies do not have sufficient climate plans to transition away from fossil fuels and address their massive emissions.

Only 28% of the oil, gas and coal companies Citi funds have a medium or strong transition plan into a clean energy future. The report categorizes oil and gas production and “energy process industries” as very high risk for not transitioning.

Citi’s report also shows it was responsible for 89.3 million metric tonnes of CO2 through their financing of fossil fuel companies, which is the equivalent of over 21 million cars driven for a year or 23 coal-fired power plants operating for a year.*

Despite the poor transition plans of the oil, gas and coal companies it funds, Citi fails to mention dropping clients, instead stating its will “hold conversations” with them and “continue facilitating solutions to support their transition planning.” Citi has been doubling down on its support for clients that do not have credible transition plans, including Exxon Mobil with Citi acting as lead advisor on the merger with Pioneer last year.

Richard Brooks, Climate Finance director at Stand.earth, called on Citi to explain how it can transition as a bank if the companies it lends to are not transitioning.

“Citi has laid out quite clearly that the vast majority of its clients are laggards and have no intention of transitioning away from oil, gas and coal. Because of this, Citi is responsible for over 23 coal plants worth of pollution due to the dirty energy companies it finances. Citi must take real action by divesting and transitioning its current relationships with these laggards who are failing to meet the needs of our clean energy future.”

Shawna Ambrose, spokesperson for Rainforest Action Network, added:

“Citi has a unique opportunity to lead the transition to a clean energy economy; instead the evidence is clear that Citi persists in bankrolling fossil fuel expansion and lacks credible, time-bound policies to achieve a transition that is aligned with what is needed to limit warming to below 1.5C and avert climate chaos. People from the Amazon to the US Gulf Coast are relying on Citigroup to make real and rapid progress on the targets it has promised – for the health of their children and all of our future generations on this planet.”

Citi is the second biggest funder of fossil fuels in the world, pumping in $322 billion between 2016-2022 according to the annual Banking on Climate Chaos report. The bank recently abandoned a bare minimum set of standards on risks to the environment and local communities where it finances oil, gas, coal, infrastructure and mining projects. These standards, called the Equator Principles, have also been dropped by  JP Morgan Chase, Bank of America and Wells Fargo. Citi is listed as having applied the Equator Principles to its funding of Cheniere’s Corpus Christi LNG expansion project in Texas in 2022, which is opposed by local communities over its health and environmental impacts.

The move is part of a concerning trend among banks headquartered in the US to backpedal on commitments on climate and to vulnerable communities affected by their financing deals. 

Bank of America has removed explicit bans on financing coal and Arctic drilling projects. JPMorgan Chase has introduced an “energy mix” for calculating its financed emissions, which will include renewable energy and make it harder to assess and recently left the voluntary CA100+ initiative. Citi’s chief executive, Jane Fraser, has also signalled a shift in priority.

Other global banks have continued to make policy changes to address climate and community risks. Barclays last month announced an end to funding for new oil and gas projects; HSBC in 2022 said it was ending funding for new fossil fuel projects. Danske Bank announced they would severely limit investments in fossil fuels via their asset management division after last year saying it would stop financing oil and gas projects and companies.

Last week the NYC Comptroller announced he had successfully pressured Citi to disclose information in 2024  on how much low carbon energy it finances in comparison to oil, gas and coal energy. Citi’s current ratio is 0.60:1 meaning for every $1 financing dirty fossil fuels only 60 cents are going into low-carbon energy like renewables. The International Energy Agency and others have stated the current ratio must by 4:1 to half economy wide emissions by 2030. As a result, Citi will no longer face a shareholder vote on the issue at its annual general meeting but the bank has yet to set a target to fix its energy ratio problem. 

 

* According to EPA greenhouse gas equivalents https://www.epa.gov/energy/greenhouse-gas-equivalencies-calculator#results

Press Contact:

Emily Pomilio, Stand.earth

[email protected]

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Citi agrees to climate disclosure after NYC investor pressure

March 20, 2024

This week, the New York City Comptroller’s office withdrew its Citi shareholder resolution given the bank’s commitment to disclose energy supply financing ratios, as reported by the Financial Times.

According to Bloomberg NEF which has pioneered energy ratio data, Citi has one of the worst clean to dirty energy ratios in the world at 0.58:1, meaning for every $1 financing fossil fuels only 58 cents is going into low carbon energy. The International Energy Agency has affirmed that banks’ ratios must be 4:1 by 2030 to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees. 

Through negotiations, Citi has agreed to disclose information on how much low carbon energy it finances in comparison to oil, gas and coal energy, after pressure from the NYC Comptroller and New York pension funds. Citi still faces a resolution on Indigenous rights, which for 2 years, has attracted over 30% of investor support.

Hannah Saggau, a climate finance campaigner with Stand.Earth, said:

“Citi’s move to disclose its energy financing ratios, thanks to pressure from the NYC Comptroller, shows they’re reading the writing on the wall and know their ratio of dirty to clean energy financing is not fit for the times. There are fundamental risks to investing in oil, gas and coal while climate change threatens economic stability for the hard-working members of their pension plans. 

“This should encourage other shareholders to challenge Citi on its environmentally racist support of fossil fuels by rapidly phasing out of oil, gas and coal funding and ramping up its financing of sustainable power. Time for investors to flex and send a message that laggard banks need to change their energy financing approach.”

“We expect that this settlement will give a boost to votes at the four remaining banks where the resolution is going forward, notorious fossil banks RBC, Bank of America, Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs.”

Press Contact:

Emily Pomilio, Stand.earth

[email protected]

Contact Us
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British bank Barclays commits to stop financing oil and gas that destroys Amazonia

February 9, 2024

Today, the British bank Barclays announced it will stop project and corporate financing for oil and gas in the region, joining a growing list of banks restricting the money flow into a sector that is a major contributor to the destruction of Amazonia and the climate. The announcement comes after years of pressure from civil society groups and Amazonian Indigenous leaders that have joined forces to stop the flows of cash pushing the rainforest to a tipping point. Environmental organization Stand.earth and the Coordinator of the Indigenous Organizations of the Amazon Basin (COICA) commend the civil society groups involved in this step towards a fossil fuel exit.

Barclays currently holds the 61st position in the Stand.earth Amazon Banks Database that shows the top banks most complicit in the oil sector’s destruction of the rainforest. Research shows that Barclays has only one deal directly financing oil and gas extraction in the Amazon rainforest – a sum of $12,750,000 with Ecopetrol. However, the policy does not cover oil trading, and the bank has ongoing financial relationships with oil traders like Shell, Vitol, PTT, and Trafigura that operate in Amazonia. Vitol and Trafigura are directly implicated in the Petroecuador bribery scandals that are the subject of ongoing corruption trials in New York while PTT (formerly Petrothailandia) is involved in the Amazon oil trade as part of the well-publicized scandal that Gunvor paid millions of dollars in bribes to gain favorable oil contracts.

Since Stand.earth launched the campaign Exit Amazon Oil and Gas, banks including BNP Paribas, Natixis, ING, and Credit Suisse committed to ending their financing of trade in oil from ports in Ecuador and Peru, which covers much of the crude oil trade from Amazonia including the flow from the Colombian Amazon. Research by Stand.earth Research Group traced these flows to California, which is the world’s largest consumer of Amazon oil. In addition, BNP Paribas, Société Générale, Intesa Sanpaolo, HSBC and Standard Chartered have also committed to excluding Amazon oil and gas financing across the Amazon more broadly.

The new policy by Barclays is similar to the one applied by British bank HSBC in 2022, which was the first exclusion to include all of Amazonia. Barclays’ move sends an important signal to other banks who hold the biggest influence in the region: JPMorgan Chase, Citi, Bank of America, Santander, Itau, Goldman Sachs and Bradesco. These banks must acknowledge the risk posed to Amazonia and Indigenous communities by oil and gas extraction, the legacy of corruption, pollution, deforestation and violence caused by extractive industries, and the responsibility banks have to uphold their commitments to protecting biodiversity, safeguarding human rights, and fighting the climate crisis. This is the focus of a new report, “Greenwashing the Amazon” which will be released by Stand.earth, COICA, and Earth InSight in March 2024.

Fany Kuiru, General Coordinator of COICA (Coordinator of the Indigenous Organizations of the Amazon Basin), said:

“Every time a bank announces a withdrawal from the Amazonia, it opens the possibility of reversing the tipping point, of maintaining the integrity of the ecosystems and their incredible biodiversity, and of preserving our culture and the knowledge of Indigenous Peoples that have kept the Amazon alive for millennia and enabled our survival with health and well-being. Since 2021, we have called to protect 80% of the Amazon rainforest as a measure to save our home and all of humanity. A living Amazon is a guarantee for life on the planet. We hope that the major financiers of oil and gas in Amazonia – such as JP Morgan Chase, Citi, Bank of America, Santander, Itau, Goldman Sachs and Bradesco – who are responsible for the contamination of our rivers and territories and for affecting the health of our brothers and sisters, will join us in this path to save life on the planet.”

Martyna Dominiak, Senior Climate Finance Campaigner at Stand.earth, said:

“The Amazon rainforest is burning and close to a tipping point due to the high levels of destruction driven by extractive industries like oil and gas which threaten the rainforest’s ability to regenerate. Barclays decision to stop financing oil and gas in Amazonia is the right decision – The time has come for the biggest bankrollers of Amazon destruction like Citibank, JPMorgan Chase, and Santander to follow suit. Financing oil and gas in Amazonia is quite literally throwing fuel on the fire of one of the most important forests left on Earth.”

Press Contacts:

Bryan Ludeña, COICA
[email protected] / +593 98 979 5277

Lays Ushirobira, Stand.earth
[email protected] / +34 685 20 05 91

Matt Krogh, Stand.earth
[email protected] / +1 360 820 2938

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Stand.earth Commends NYC Comptroller Climate Resolutions at Big Fossil Banks

New York, NY – Today, the New York City Comptroller, representing $255 billion in assets under management, announced filing of climate shareholder resolutions at big fossil banks, including Citibank and Royal Bank of Canada (RBC).

The resolutions specifically challenge six major banks on skewed financing ratios of dirty energy to clean energy, which are currently dangerously out of sync with all legitimate energy modeling projections, including from the International Energy Association (IEA).

“Big fossil banks like RBC and Citi are dragging us all backwards by over-financing dirty energy of the past, and under-financing solutions for a climate-safe economy. On the heels of the hottest year on-record, this reckless imbalance has deadly impacts for our communities and climate,” said Richard Brooks, Stand.earth Climate Finance Director. “We commend New York City’s leadership, as the home of Wall Street, to push big banks to be part of the solution and stop exacerbating the problem. This is a clear signal for pensions and institutional investors everywhere to step up and support these resolutions.”

Today’s resolutions come on the heels of a recent first-of-its-kind report and scorecard – the Hidden Risk in Pensions – which graded 24 U.S. public pension funds (including NYC) on proxy voting and guidelines.

Both Citi and RBC’s ratio of financing renewables to fossil fuels are abysmally low, according to Bloomberg NEF. RBC’s ratio was 0.4:1 in 2022, while Citi’s ratio actually decreased from 0.7:1 in 2021 to 0.6:1 in 2022.

Citi was warned by the United Nations, along with other banks, that their financing of Saudi Aramco may contribute to global human rights violations because of the oil giant’s role in driving climate chaos. Meanwhile, RBC is currently under investigation by the Competition Bureau of Canada for allegedly misleading consumers with climate-related advertising while continuing to increase financing for coal, oil and gas, including in extreme energy like fracking and tar sands.

RBC and Citi’s proxy statements are expected in early March ahead of annual general meetings (AGMs): RBC’s in Toronto on April 11, 2024, and Citi’s at the end of April.

###

Press Contact:

Lindsay Meiman, Stand.earth —

+1 (917) 970-2281
[email protected]

Email
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Costco Petition Delivery Success: CEO responds!

This is a re-publication of a blog from Third Act. Read the original blog here.

Last week on a cold, rainy morning in Issaquah, WA, the day before Costco’s annual virtual shareholder meeting, a dedicated group of Third Actors, Stop the Money Pipeline supporters, Costco members and shareholders, and local activists delivered 40,000 petition signatures to Costco’s new CEO, Mr. Ron Vachris, calling on Costco to cut ties with Citibank if Citi won’t clean up its portfolio and stop funding the expansion of fossil fuels. We delivered the petitions with a “Congrats, Ron!” welcome party to highlight his new role at the helm of the 3rd largest retailer in the US and the power he can leverage as a big client of Citibank’s. And, during the Costco shareholder meeting, he responded! Here is a round-up of our campaign activities, what Mr. Vachris said, and what’s next.

Making the Campaign Visible to Costco

As part of coalition efforts to escalate pressure on Wall Street banks to stop funding dirty fossil fuels, we are working to leverage the power of big bank clients like Costco to influence their banking partners on climate. Third Act and Third Act Working Groups, Stop the Money Pipeline, Stand.earth, Climate Organizing Hub, the Sunrise Project, New York Communities for Change, Hip Hop Caucus, and several other partners together launched the “Costco: Clean Up Your Credit Card” campaign in September 2023 and gathered petition signatures in-person and online throughout the Fall (if you haven’t signed it, you still can!).

Our tone has been consistently friendly and encouraging towards Costco, as our primary request is that Costco push Citibank to stop funding dirty fossil fuels. We have written to Costco’s executive leadership multiple times requesting a meeting and offering to be a resource to assist Costco in addressing the company’s emissions associated with its banking relationships. But we did not receive a substantive reply other than “we plan to honor our contract with Citibank.”

To make sure that Mr. Vachris, Costco leadership, and board members heard and saw the growing chorus of voices calling on Costco to “do the right thing,” as its corporate motto proclaims, we planned a series of activities to make this petition delivery visible.

Check out this round-up of our creative and collective efforts on full display over several days and watch the video below:

  • Delivered to Mr. Vachris’ office at headquarters a card and booklet with the 40,000 signatures, including 18,000 Costco members;
  • The “welcome party” at Costco headquarters on January 17, complete with a sheet cake, a giant card congratulating Ron, party hats, Costco members in red aprons, and giant scissors cutting up a Citibank credit card. We  even had a dancing hotdog!! (Costco is famous for its $1.50 hotdogs);
  • Sang a reworked “Celebration” song by Kool and the Gang with lyrics like “Citibank, Good Bye, Farewell!” (watch this video by Alex Garland);
  • A mobile billboard that circled Costco headquarters, an adjacent warehouse, and the Seattle Costco warehouse on January 18, the day of its virtual shareholder meeting, with graphics calling on Costco to drop dirty Citi (see videophotos);
  • Costco shareholders published a blog expressing their concerns and submitted written questions during the shareholder meeting asking what steps Costco is planning to take to address these concerns regarding its relationship with Citi;
  • Costco members delivered the petition memo and card to at least 10 Costco stores in 6 states (and counting!), and engaged in sincere conversations with Costco store managers. Many store managers shared that they are concerned about climate change, they did not know about Citibank’s role in funding the climate crisis, and agreed to share the petition information with their regional managers and leadership;
  • Published updated analysis by Topo Finance estimating Costco’s carbon footprint from its cash deposits – where banks get to use its money to fund oil, gas, and coal – is equivalent to 85.3% of Costco’s total operational carbon emission (all the energy and gas used for its warehouses, deliveries, capital goods, employee travel and commuting, and more). Costco’s carbon cash footprint is equivalent to 10.1 gas-fired power plants operating for one year; and
  • Garnered publicity via an in-depth article by Keerti Gopal at Inside Climate News, coverage by Progressive Grocer (a trade association publication), a media statement, and Bill McKibben’s Substack “Sheet Cake As Ammunition.”

Costco CEO Responds at the Shareholder Meeting

As a result of all this creative campaigning and visibility, and in response to a group of Costco shareholders asking questions about Costco’s relationship with Citi during the virtual annual shareholder meeting, Costco’s new CEO, Ron Vachris, responded:

“Citi is indeed a key partner for Costco Wholesale, and we are aware of those petitions that were signed. We are going to continue moving forward with our climate action plan, and have been in discussions with Citi about their carbon reduction plans in the future. We’re going to focus on our efforts, and we’ll stay close to Citi and their efforts as well.”

We got the CEO of the 3rd largest retailer in the US to publicly acknowledge our campaign and the issue of Citibank’s climate pollution! While this is definitely not enough, this indicates significant progress for our campaign. We are hearing directly from the new CEO for the first time on this issue, Costco leadership has seen and acknowledged this issue, and we now know that Costco is having “discussions” with Citi about their carbon reductions.

Bill McKibben remarked on the CEO’s response: “Costco has taken a good first step: it has acknowledged the concerns there are with Citi as its credit card issuer. The next step should be robust discussions with Citi over the billions it continues to pour into harmful projects and companies that are contributing to climate change. We eagerly await the outcome of these discussions.”

Stop the Money Pipeline is a core leader of the Costco campaign coalition, and Sarah Lasoff  STMP’s Special Projects Manager expressed her excitement about this progress and what’s next. “I am immensely grateful for and proud of all the organizing that has led to this moment. Our campaign and coalition are making progress and it’s because of people just like you. From sending an email to showing up to Costco’s HQ to petitioning at Costco warehouses and farmers markets, all of our collective pressure resulted in Costco CEO’s public response. While his response indicates progress, it is not enough. We are going to need as many folks involved as possible, especially Costco members, shareholders, employees, and board members, to continue our pressure urging Costco to turn acknowledgement into serious action.”

We look forward to hearing directly from Costco’s leadership about their own efforts as part of Costco’s climate action plan, how they will address Costco’s financed emissions associated with their banking relationships, and how Citi is responding.

Citi Are You Listening? Stop Funding Fossil Fuel Expansion!

Anne Shields, a member of Third Act Washington and a Costco shopper, notes, “We are pleased that new Costco CEO Ron Vachris is prepared to listen to 18,000 of Costco’s own members like me and to discuss with Citi about getting serious on climate. But Costco should know that talk isn’t enough, we want to see action. We want Costco to make it clear that they will take their business to another bank if Citi doesn’t get serious on climate. I am doing this for the future of my sons and I won’t be giving up.”

About a year ago, Chris Goelz, a Third Act supporter in Seattle, had just signed Third Act’s Banking on our Future Pledge and realized his Costco credit card was issued by Citibank. So, he reached out to Costco staff that managed the Citi credit card partnership to express his concerns, which were politely deflected and passed on to Citibank. Chris is also a Costco shareholder and says, “Our call remains the same:  Unless Citi significantly curtails its funding of fossil fuel expansion, Costco must find a new credit card partner.”

Our efforts are not stopping with the petition delivery. No way! Already since last Friday, more than 100 people have submitted Letters to the Editor to their local papers (you can too! Use our online tool), and the Press Herald in Maine has already published one. More than 3,600 people wrote to the top four Costco executives asking them to heed the call of petition signers and reevaluate its relationship with Citibank. And there’s even a new song “Hey, Citi–Hey, Costco” by a Third Actor from Texas, Purly Rae Gates , who is a talented musician and songwriter. Purly Rae sings:

“Hey Costco, quit the Citi
For the country, the planet, for the future we will see.
Be a leader, do the right thing
Help us move the world to clean energy.
Clean up the card!
It’s a choice.
Mother Earth has given warning
It’s time to raise your voice.”

We are raising our collective voices! And we continue to urge Costco to raise its voice and call for Citi to stop funding fossil fuels and accelerate its investments in clean energy and climate solutions.

(Watch for the imminent release of Purly Rae Gates’ digital, 6-song EP “Songs for a Fossil Fuel Funeral” on the usual platforms). 

Read the blog on Third Act’s website.

Check it out
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High seas swindle: Citi slammed for chairing bank group to decarbonize shipping while funding deepwater drillships

The bank chairing the push to decarbonize shipping has pumped millions into controversial deepwater drillships this year.

Citi’s chairing of the Poseidon Principles, which involves reducing the emissions in shipping, is also being questioned as the group’s latest annual report published today shows the bank’s score on meeting targets for reducing financed emissions in shipping has worsened again.

Citi was involved in loans this year to two drillships owned by Transocean, including a $486 million loan for the building of a new ship, the Aquila, and a $525 million loan for upgrades to the Titan. Since 2016, Citi has pumped over $2.5 billion into Transocean, including $407 million in 2019, the year the Poseidon Principles were set up. Citi has also financed another drill ship builder Valaris, pumping in over $600 million since 2016.

Offshore drilling is one of the riskiest types of oil and gas extraction, given the oil spills and damage to marine life it involves. The Aquila ship will be built on the coast of Brazil, threatening sensitive marine ecosystems and coastal communities that rely on fishing—including Quilombola communities, Afro-Brazilian descendents of escaped slave populations. Many communities in Brazil have powerfully resisted ‘petro-dependency’ for years, calling out the oil and gas industry’s contamination of their land, air, and water and violations of their rights to healthy and safe working and living conditions.

Citi’s project financing of drillships and funding for off-shore drilling companies comes as banks and energy companies seek to cash in on high oil prices and drill in more remote settings, including the ocean bed. At the same time banks like Citi say they remain committed to Net Zero targets. 

Stand.Earth criticized Citi’s chairing of the Poseidon Principles while funding destructive drillships as “greenwashing”:

“Citi is acting like a rogue pirate on the high seas: riding the wave of oil and gas profits while plundering the depths of our oceans through funding harmful drillships. Citi chairing the Poseidon Principles to decarbonize shipping while backing dangerous new drillships is one of the most blatant greenwashing moves we’ve seen from the bank to date,” said Hannah Saggau, Senior Climate Finance Campaigner with Stand.earth.

The release of the latest annual report by the Poseidon Principles puts further into doubt Citi’s commitment to decarbonizing shipping with its score worsening every year since 2021. Citi’s is 33% over the emissions reduction the International Maritime Organization has said needs to be met.

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